Swooning for Woon

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Something happens to your stomach when you get stoned. Science says the chemical compounds in THC send signals straight to your brain that kick your cravings into overdrive. That primitive part of your mind stimulates what we like to call “the munchies” making it nearly impossible to avoid the temptation of flinging open the fridge or having our favorite delivery service dash to our doorstep.

Lucky for us, our brains are also hard wired to crave sweet and savory foods so we’re often quick to grab something satisfying like Chinese food to baby bird those primal tendencies. Woon restaurateur, Keegan Fong knows this better than anyone, as his mom’s popular home style cuisine not only his fed family but a regular crew of insatiable friends while he was growing up.

“A lot of it’s very carb and sauce heavy. I see a lot of my friends here because they're hungover,” he laughs when asked why the food at Woon has become so appealing to the Saturday afternoon lunch crowd. Obvious cravings aside, it’s Mama Fong’s proprietary recipes that inspire the five-star reviews, press attention and LA food scene gossip. “Everything that's on the menu is the stuff my sister and I would ask her to make,” adds Keegan reminiscing about growing up with a mother as a chef.

While it’s commonly known as a noodle shop, the full Woon menu is simple, full-flavored and downright irresistible. Smashed radishes tossed with marinade is a fermented foodie’s dream. Wood Ear mushrooms and bean curd stick merge a novel texture with a slightly sour mouthfeel making even the medicinal properties seem tasty. The spongy and filling pork belly bao, five spice hot wings and fried tofu fishcakes are also stand-out selections you’ll want to pair with a stellar list of natural wines, beer or your choice of carefully curated novel libations.

The Fong’s chosen location for Woon is a destination spot right in the heart of LA’s historical Filipinotown where the brave and hungry like to tickle their taste buds. While the restaurant is relatively new to the community, the Fongs have been spreading the Woon gospel in the most organic way possible. Many might place the taste from a pop-up they attended in the back of a neighborhood bar, magazine launch party or fashion event. In fact, ahead of their official opening Woon hosted enough pop-ups over four years they could have easily maintained a moving target as word-of-mouth helped ensure that many would hit the well-hyped bullseye.

But building community encouraged the Fong’s to plant a flag and grow their family affair with an official restaurant. Friends and relatives from far and wide rolled up their sleeves to help build out the space that seemingly always basks in the rays of California’s golden hour. Inviting warm wood tables and chairs were built with the generous help of Keegan’s roommate and designer, Peter Wilday. Artist, Ty Williams’ work hangs on the walls with a similar style carried over to the logo and menu. Woon even employs local members of the community who share a kitchen where roles are blurred and everyone throws in, family style.

So the next time you’re in the mood for something sweet, savory and salty and your stomach is screaming, “Feed me!” after you puff and pass with some friends, make sure you look for the brightly lit Woon sign on the corner of Temple and Reno street. Stop in and let Mama Fong’s home cooking help you feel like an old pal.

Woon Kitchen
is located at
2920 W. Temple St. Los Angeles, CA 90026

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